Art is all around

When I visited Ireland for the first time, I was on the trip through the whole of Europe. I took a night train from Maribor to Ljubljana and an hour later I was on the Austrian border showing my passport. It was late April 2004 and Slovenia was not a member of the European Union yet. I underwent the same procedure on the German border,
when also a control by criminal police happened, but everything was fine; only my sleep was distracted. I must admit it was a very busy night. The song Trans Europe Express by Kraftwerk was echoing restlessly in my head.

In the early morning I had an hour’s layover in Munich, where I had breakfast and bought a ticket to my final destination. It was Osnabrueck as I was invited to the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) to give a lecture Culture and New Media in Slovenia as a part of the programme Willkommen im Klub, on 24th of April, which was about EU accession countries.
Lars von Trier’s Europa Europa
movie was rolling in my sight.

The next day I was on the airport Duesseldorf-Weeze (Nieder-Rhein) taking a plane to London and immediately after landing I was on the train from London Euston to Liverpool, where I had a meeting concerning Virtual Centre Media Net, one of our Culture 2000 funded projects. With other co-producers and partners we met at the FACT – Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, where we were also a part of the Situationist Sim City event.

From John Lennon Airport, which has a verse "above us only sky" as a motto and where I saw mother appeasing her rompish children, "calm down, you know airports are for waiting," I took a plane to Dublin, where I visited Slovene ambassador Mrs. Helena Drnovšek Zorko, her daughter Špela and son Filip, and some friends. We expectedly waited for the solemn moment of the European enlargement, which was about for ceremony on the 1st of May. It was a hot and completely clear sunny day.

It started with a discussion and then proceeded with emailing and phoning with Mr. John X. Miller, director of Cork Vision Centre, which is based St. Peter's in Cork. I hadn't a clue into what we are immersing ourselves, when I was in Ireland again visiting Cork to see the space for the Enlargement programme of the Cork 2005 – European Capital of Culture. We proposed our part in October 2003 and it was the kind of a situation in which you don’t know exactly what is going on with taking the past into the future.

Only a couple of weeks ago I became truly aware of the responsibility we have. For the first time in history Slovenia got the invitation to participate in this programme as a member state. The European City of Culture project was launched, at the initiative of Melina Mercouri, by the Council of Ministers on 13th of June 1985, designed to "contribute to bringing the peoples of Europe together". It is one of the oldest programs and has become ever more popular with the citizens of Europe and has seen its cultural and socio-economic influence grow through the many visitors it has attracted. This year is the 20th anniversary of the launch, for the first time it was in Athens. Who then cares after all, that Cork is among smallest European Capitals of Culture and is the same size as Maribor, when art is all around...

Peter Tomaž Dobrila
Programme Coordinator

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